Because of Governor Murphy’s executive orders, commercial landlords have been unable to get possession of their properties from non-residential tenants since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020.
Landlords have faced an uphill battle to regain possession of their commercial space from a defaulting tenant. The burden to have an eviction case heard in court is a high one, since a court will have to find that emergent circumstances exist before it hears the landlord’s case on its merits.
For landlords having difficulty collecting rent from commercial tenants, this new order out of the Governor’s office may provide them with some relief but additional aid for landlords needs to be on the horizon.
The new landlord-tenant order will prompt an uptick in commercial evictions, but not until the second half of 2021, given the heavy burden of showing that the tenant’s nonpayment of rent is impacting the landlord’s finances.
So What Does the Governor’s Order Say?
Commercial landlords and property owners can seek eviction of a tenant under emergent circumstances for non-payment of rent but only if (1) the tenant has vacated the property, (2) the tenant’s business is not operating and will not resume operations, or if (3) non-payment of rent causes the landlord to face foreclosure or a tax lien.
The order represents an expansion of a July 2020 order that allowed commercial or residential landlords to make an application for an eviction if the tenant was/is destroying the property or engaged in illegal activity. The judiciary placed a moratorium on commercial and residential landlord-tenant trials in March 2020.
The New Jersey judiciary issued an order expanding and clarifying landlords’ ability to obtain trials in commercial landlord-tenant matters. And on the same day, the judiciary announced that state courts will resume issuing post-judgment writs of possession in commercial foreclosure cases.
However, the landlord-tenant order won’t help property owners whose commercial tenants remain in business but don’t pay rent. They still cannot evict or foreclose.
If you are looking for additional details on this topic or if you require advice about your situation, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Real Estate Attorney